Kiermaier does it again; gives Rays a walkoff

by Gary Shelton on August 23, 2020

in general

Kiermaier hit his second walkoff of the year./TIM WIRT

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Weren't we just here? Didn't we just see this?

Kevin Kiermaier is dancing on the fake grass of Tropicana Field. His teammates are spilling things on him. Everyone is grinning. Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays are walking away sadly.

Well, deja vu.

Kiermaier, for the second time in 24 days, sent the Rays home happy with a walkoff hit in the 10th inning over Toronto. This time, he singled to left field on the first pitch from Anthony Bass to provide a 2-1 win.

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On July 29, Kiermaier had also enabled the Rays to win on a walkoff when he hit a two-run triple in the 10th inning of that game. Kiermaier, who entered the game hitting just .225, is the only player in the majors with more than one walk-off hit this season.

Saturday night, Kiermaier gave the Rays their 10th come-from-behind victory of the season. The Rays are 12-2 in their last 14 games and are once again in first place in the AL East.

"I’m hyper and I can  never sit still," Kiermaier said. "One thing that helps is hitting in the cage and just moving around. I was doing that for 5-6 innings. A lot of us do that. I just can’t sit still. I figure my name would be called t some time. I’m glad they allowed me to hit in a big situation."

Rays manager Kevin Cash said he might have used Kiermaier as a pinch-runner in the ninth for Jose Martinez had Martinez gotten to second base. Instead, he was available to pinch-hit in the 10th.

"He was ready," Cash said. "I’ll give him that.  Pinch-hitting is not easy. It’s really tough. Good for KK for going up there ready, He’s obviously trying to get the ball in the air. It worked out for us."

Also working for the Rays was a collection of "who's he" pitchers who came through. Aaron Slegers started and threw four innings of scoreless, no-hit baseball. He was followed by Sean Gilmartin, Ryan Thompson, Pete Fairbanks, John Cuttis, Jalen Beeks and Anthony Banda. Together, they held the Blue Jays to five hits and one run.

The Rays conclude their series with Toronto today at 1:10 p.m. Josh Fleming will make his major league debut for the Rays. The Blue Jays have not announced their starter.

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